The feeling of dread spread around my body and almost paralysed me as I forced myself to move forward. I was terrified beyond all sense after witnessing what had just happened. But I stared blankly into the face of the officer. I stood at my full height and I barely reached his chest. I glowered at him, glaring at the useless adornment on his chest. I was intoxicated by a mix of blinding fury and terror. The officer simply flicked his finger to the left, barely looking at me.
I made my way to the back of the group. There stood the two sobbing children and I grabbed their hands.
“Cisza, hush,” I hissed at them.
Gradually, their heaving sobs eased into soft whimpers. As I felt the girls’ grips tighten around my hands almost simultaneously, it struck me that the lives here are worth nothing. Nothing. We are all just numbers. They tore apart what remained of thatbabcia’slife when they took her away from her grandchildren. They rip apart lives with a similar ease as that of ripping paper.
But just because these ignorant soldiers cannot see it, we are still people. I am Katya. As long as I live, not even live, but exist, I win. I beat the heartless brutes that would shoot their own grandmother without hesitation.
Those two girls are long dead. I had to carry both their tiny, starved bodies to the pit where the corpses are stacked. As I placed their bodies next to the towering pile, I couldn’t help but notice the peace had been returned to them. The fact that they couldn’t be hurt anymore, these two innocent girls, returned a sense of peace to me. A feeling that I thought was long lost. Knowing that these girls were spared with a swift death, that let them escape the prolonged suffering of everyone else here, reminded me that there was hope. Grim hope. But it is hope all the same.